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WRS Interview Advice: The Face to Face Interview

Posted by: Ruth McKinney

The previous instalment of WRS Interview Advice covered the salient considerations and features of a phone interview; next up is the widely recognised Stage Two of the job search, the face to face interview. The recruiter used the phone interview to separate good candidates from bad, like wheat from chaff. If you were invited to a face to face interview, then the impression you left on your employer was promising. The face to face interview will likely be longer than the phone interview, and will be between yourself and usually one or two members of the company. 

This instalment covers the pertinent considerations of a face to face interview and advice on how to apply yourself.

Preparation: The recruiter to whom you spoke during the phone interview will most likely invite you for this second, more formalised interview, in one of two ways: as their closing evaluation of the phone interview itself, or via email within a couple of days. Often, you will be given at least a week before this second interview. This is time that could and should be used to maximise your readiness for the big event.

Go through your CV during these lead-up days, familiarising yourself with your previous job roles and the concomitant responsibilities of each. If you have a vast list of prior roles, creating a timeline can help to “jog your memory”, which might prevent you from forgetting key pieces of information that could help on interview day. Be sure to talk about your most relevant previous roles when answering questions.

Formal first: Unless stated in advance, dress formally. Keep colours passive and neutral. A lime green shirt beneath a purple suit can wait for another occasion…

Bring your CV: While the interviewer(s) might have copies of your CV to hand, you will immediately demonstrate your awareness of others, and your preparation, by having copies to offer. During travel, keep your CV(s) in a container or compartment of your bag where they will be unlikely to be crumpled. Three copies should suffice. Keep your CV to a maximum of two pages. If cutting is required, prioritise keeping relevance and experience.

Be punctual, but not too punctual: There is such a thing as too early for an interview, at least in terms of informing the interviewer of your arrival. Your prospective boss has organised this interview around their busy schedule, don't forget. 

Psychologically, arriving an hour early–or even more–could indicate a desire to impress that borders on desperation. Find a nearby park or café, or use your car if you drove to the location, and use this spare time to read through your CV. Read through the job description. Listen to some music, or the radio. Try to remain calm. You earned yourself a phone interview through your CV, and you proved in the phone interview that you deserve to reach this next stage. You are here on your own merits. 

Once the interview is 10-12 minutes from commencement, make your arrival. 

The first impression, face to face:
Your comportment is critical. Smile, be gracious, be prepared for an introductory handshake. Eye contact will demonstrate composure and attentiveness. Your posture will say plenty about you as well. Do not slouch. These suggestions might seem obvious, but being consciously aware of each one will stand you in great stead. 

Demonstrate your abilities: The face to face interview clearly involves speaking with somebody in the same room. Whether you treat the interview as a Q&A or a formal conversation, ensure you pay attention, not only to what they say, but their body language and facial expressions. When answering a question, you will impress your interviewer far more by tailoring your response to their question than by waiting for their question to be voiced and then merely blurting out things you want to say. If the points you want to make are relevant to the job interview, then a prominent opportunity to state those points will arise. Focus on packaging your strengths into a relevant answer. 

Consistency is key: Your CV and your responses to their questions are going to be cross-referenced throughout the interview. Undermining your CV or any points you made during the phone interview will negatively affect their impression of you. 

Mindfulness: Composure often leads to success. If you could benefit from de-stressing, there's no harm in seeking out mindfulness/meditative techniques to focus on steady breathing. Finally, a good night's sleep will help prevent any mid-interview yawns! 






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